The Last of Us develops Ellie and Joel’s relationship in major ways by putting them in different situations together. But it’s safe to say that throughout the game, they do form a strong bond with each other.
One of the most striking scenes in the game is at the very end when Ellie tells Joel to swear he’s telling the truth. Joel hesitates at first, but he swears that he’s telling the truth to which Ellie just accepts it without further questions.
But was he telling the truth about the Fireflies to Ellie? No, Joel lied to Ellie about the fireflies, but there are reasons to justify why he was hiding the truth. The primary reason for not telling her was to protect her but we’re gonna dive into details below:
Why did Joel lie to Ellie about the Fireflies?
There are two reasons why Joel lied to Ellie about the Fireflies. Take a look at them below:
I. Joel couldn’t lose Ellie
The game starts with Joel losing his daughter Sarah which is one of the most important moments in the game. Joel naturally tries to avoid Ellie after losing Sarah but ends up growing close to her.
So, when he learned that the Firefly surgeons needed to kill Ellie in order to save mankind, he saved her and killed all the Fireflies. But he never told Ellie what happened and just told her that the Fireflies found other immune people and were unable to find a cure, which was a lie.
He started caring about Ellie as his own daughter, so when the time came for Joel to tell the truth about the Fireflies, he lied. He was afraid that knowing the truth, Ellie would leave him and he would lose the only thing that mattered to him in the world again.
II. He was afraid Ellie would go back to the Fireflies
Even though Joel saves Ellie from the surgeons, Ellie didn’t want to be saved. She was ready to give her life to save mankind from the Cordyceps infection. But of course, Joel put his needs above others and saved her from the Fireflies by killing them.
He knew that if he told her the truth about what he did to the Fireflies, she would go back to them in order to make the cure which would kill her. That’s why, even though Ellie was the only immune person and had the cure, Joel lied to her.
III. Does Ellie find out the truth?
Yes, Ellie does find out that Joel killed the Fireflies and also finds out that he lied to her. In the third flashback of The Last of Us Part 2, we see Ellie exploring Saint Mary Hospital where Joel killed the Fireflies and finding a tape of a recording in one of the rooms.
She decides to hear the tape and the tape reveals that the Fireflies had disbanded because the only person that was able to make the cure was dead (thanks to Joel) and there were no hopes of finding another immune person.
IV. When does Joel tell Ellie the truth?
After finding out the tapes, Joel arrives and they have a confrontation where Joel tells her that making the cure would’ve killed Ellie but he couldn’t let that happen. So, he killed the Fireflies and saved her but had to lie to her in order to keep her safe.
Ellie breaks down after hearing the truth. Joel goes on to comfort her but Ellie pushes him back angrily and tells him “we’re done” and goes back to Jackson tearfully, leaving him behind.
V. What was the last thing Ellie said to Joel?
At the end of the game, Joel and Ellie have a heart-to-heart conversation and the last thing said by Ellie to Joel is “I don’t think I can forgive you for that…. But I’d like to try.” to which Joel replies “I’d like that.” before tearfully saying goodbye to each other.
Even though Ellie hates Joel for what he did, she still tells him that she’ll try to forgive him because after all, he saved her. We can also assume that Ellie’s need for revenge comes from the fact of her guilt of not forgiving Joel before he died.
About The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us Part II is a an action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. The game is set 5 years after the events of the first game.
Players control Ellie on her journey for revenge against The Wolves, a faction which has set up in Seattle. On her journey, Ellie fights against survivors of the Cordyceps apocalypse and new variants of the infected. The game mixes elements of stealth and gun-play in vast areas, allowing players to approach the situation as they see fit. The Last of Us Part 2 received an overall positive reception and has gone on to win several Game of the Year awards.